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Health Care is a Viable Career Option for Rock Springs Students

July 30, 2015
young woman touching neck of practice dummy
Taylor Seilbach, of Rock Springs, takes vital signs on a mannequin “patient” during the recent AHEC Health Care Careers Camp at UW. (UW Photo)

 Influenced by their experiences at a recent camp at the University of Wyoming, seven high school students from Rock Springs are seriously considering careers in the health care field.

The students attending the recent Wyoming Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Health Care Careers Summer Camp at UW were Kirstin Balls, Cory Cordova, Bailey Cowan, Sussy Maldonado, Taylor Seilbach, McKenzie Skiles and Misty Upchurch. They learned about the requirements necessary to pursue health care careers as well as the numerous job opportunities that will be available throughout Wyoming upon completion of their training.

At the UW camp, the Rock Springs students were exposed to careers in such fields as nursing, pharmacy, medicine, surgical technology, speech-language pathology, optometry, dental hygiene, radiography and ultrasonography. Activities took place on the UW campus, Laramie’s Ivinson Memorial Hospital, Snowy Range Vision Center and at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. More than 40 local health care workers volunteered their time to teach campers about their chosen professions.young man practicing injection on block-shaped artificial skin

“This camp helped open my eyes that I really do have a calling in the health care profession,” Upchurch says. “Being able to see all the careers helped me narrow down what I really want to do for the rest of my life.”

Seilbach says she now has more career options besides becoming a physician or a nurse.

“I’m not sure what I want to do for a career, but the camp made me wonder about more options in health care, like pharmacy, something I never thought I would do,” Seilbach says.

Maldonado says the experience reinforced her career plan.

“This camp has made me want to be an occupational therapist even more because they help people and make them feel good about themselves,” she says. “That's all I've wanted to do since I was a little girl.”

Students had opportunities to suture (with chicken breasts); make medicated balm; make a cast; perform an ultrasound-guided “biopsy”; give injections (into simulated skins); and operate a laparoscope, an instrument used to examine abdominal or pelvic organs.

“Wyoming is facing a critical shortage of health care workers. Camp sponsors hope that opportunities like this will motivate students to consider pursuing health care careers,” says Marivern Easton, Wyoming AHEC program director and UW College of Health Sciences WWAMI medical education program assistant director. “The shortage will worsen as the baby boomer generation ages.”

Each Wyoming county is dealing with shortages in primary care and mental health, and many face shortages of dentists and other health care professionals. The key, Easton says, is to identify, recruit, train and retain Wyoming residents.

“If we can generate enthusiasm among high school-aged students and support them as they pursue education and training opportunities, we have a much two young women shining lights into eyes of practice dummystronger possibility of eventually employing them as health care workers throughout Wyoming,” she adds.

Cowan says the camp made her even more determined to major in anesthesiology or pharmacy when it comes time for college.

“Not only did I learn the education, we also had the option to do hands-on procedures as the real health care professionals do every day in their lives,” she says. “My overall experience of this camp was life changing, and I encourage everyone who has the chance to go, to take it.”

The camp is sponsored by the Wyoming AHEC, UW College of Health Sciences, WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) medical education program, Wyoming Office of Rural Health, Laramie County Community College, Wyoming Center for Nursing and Health Care Partnerships, Snowy Range Vision Center and Ivinson Memorial Hospital.

For more information about the summer camp, call Easton at (307) 766-6751 or see www.uwyo.edu/ahec/health%20careers%20summer%20camp.html.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

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Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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